Consumer Video Tips

Nothing But Information on Today’s Hottest Consumer Video Gear, Tips & Tricks

Posts Tagged ‘Gear

Canon HV30 Field Test

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I just spent a week shooting with The Canon HV30. It’s a small, but very powerful and affordable camcorder.

I selected this model for use on the Aperture Nature Photography Workshop based on the advice of none other than my pal, Alex Lindsay. Alex is the honcho at Pixelcorps and knows his stuff. He said the HV30 is THE camera to get, if you’re looking for a small handheld and you want to use tape. So I did – get it that is.

Now before I go on, let’s deal with the elephant in the room…

Yes, HD/DV tape is probably on its very last legs. I’d be surprised if in three years we see any new camcorders using tape – so I plan to buy up a nice supply when I see the end near. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by scottbourne

January 18, 2009 at 10:24 am

Posted in Gear

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Canon To Announce New HD Camcorders At Macworld

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Canon will announce a new line up of HD camcorders at Macworld in San Francisco today. Pricing and availability will be published after the formal announcement.

Canon’s new VIXIA High Definition Camcorders:

All VIXIA camcorders feature HD Video Lens; Canon designed and manufactured HD CMOS Image Sensor for Full HD image capture; and Canon-developed DIGIC DV II and DIGIC DV III Image Processors.  Additional features found on select VIXIA models include Instant AutoFocus, SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization and 24Mbps Recording – the highest bit rate in AVCHD.

Canon Face Detection Technology used in Canon digital cameras is now available in Canon VIXIA high definition camcorders.  Up to 35 faces can be detected automatically, and nine detection frames can be displayed at one time.

From the official Canon News Release:

Canon VIXIA HF S10 and VIXIA HF S100 Flash Memory Camcorders

Canon’s top-of-the-line high definition Flash Memory camcorders, the Canon VIXIA HF S10 and VIXIA HF S100, boast an impressive range of new and advanced features.  The VIXIA HF S10 offers the option of recording video to a 32GB internal Flash drive or directly to an SDHC memory card, while the VIXIA HF S100 records to an SDHC memory card only.  Both models feature the new DIGIC DV III Image Processor, an 8.59 Megapixel Full HD CMOS Image Sensor, Genuine Canon Face Detection Technology, an advanced Auto Exposure system and Video Snapshot and Dual Shot Modes.  In addition, both models deliver stunning 8.0 Megapixel digital photographs.

Canon VIXIA HF20 and VIXIA HF200 Flash Memory Camcorders

Canon’s most compact high definition Flash Memory camcorders, the VIXIA HF20 and VIXIA HF200 are powerhouse options for anyone looking to take their HD camcorder with them wherever they go.  The VIXIA HF20 offers the option of recording to a 32GB internal Flash drive or SDHC card slot and the VIXIA HF200 records to an SDHC memory card only.  Additional features include a 3.89 Megapixel Full HD CMOS Image Sensor, newly designed Genuine Canon 15x HD Video Lens, advanced Auto Exposure system, and Video Snapshot and Dual Shot Modes.

Canon VIXIA HV40 HDV Camcorder

The Canon VIXIA HV40 HDV Camcorder, a replacement to the highly acclaimed VIXIA HV30 camcorder, shares the core components found within the VIXIA line, but also offers a Genuine Canon 10x HD Video Lens and 2.96 Megapixel Full HD CMOS Image Sensor.  What’s more, the camcorder allows consumers to record in native 24p Mode, a feature previously found only on Canon’s professional camcorders.  Native 24p allows consumer to capture and record 24 progressive frames per second to a HDV tape, a big advantage for the serious filmmaker.  Another add-on feature, Custom Key Mode, enables consumers to assign commonly used functions to a single button on the camcorder for easy access.

Written by scottbourne

January 5, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Posted in News

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Shooting Smooth Video

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If you’re someone who loves the jerky look of MTV video, skip this post. But if you want to be able to eat dinner and then sit down and watch one of your own videos without throwing up due to motion sickness, keep reading.

When you shoot with a still camera on a tripod, chances are you use a ball head, a gimbal head or a panning head. For video, you’ll need a panning head, and most experts prefer what’s called a fluid head.

A fluid head uses viscous oil between the mechanical components that allow the smoothest movement. This makes panning, starts and stops all record more smoothly.

Unfortunately, fluid heads can be very expensive, running into the thousands of dollars for those that need to support very large video cameras.

For the average consumer video camera, there is one inexpensive fluid head that I’ve tried and can recommend. It’s the Bogen/Manfrotto 501HDV Fluid Video Head. Most stores sell it for well under $200. It supports more than 13 pounds (much more than any consumer camcorder would weigh) and offers a stable way to pan your camera.

Some of my favorite features of this head are that it offers variable friction on both the pan and the tilt axis. You can vary the friction. It offers a sliding camera plate and it is set up to work for either right or left-handed shooters.

One negative for the 501 is its weight. It weighs 3.5 pounds. If carry a one pound camcorder and need a 3.5 pound head, chances are it might keep you from bringing the head along at all. But fight that temptation. All video gear of this nature suffers this problem. You can get carbon fiber heads that weigh less, but they will cost much more.

It’s well built and Bogen offers a five year warranty to support the product.

Written by scottbourne

December 14, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Posted in Gear

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How to Choose a Consumer Video Camera

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It’s always the same question…”Which camcorder should I buy?”

I don’t know. That’s the simple answer. But I can help you with a list of things to consider when selecting a video camera.

The first and foremost factor is deciding how you want to use it. If you hope to make low-budget motion pictures for major market distribution, you’ll want a different camera than you’d want if all you need to do is document the birth of your dog’s new puppies.

Video cameras (not surprisingly) offer greater capability, depending on cost. So what’s you budget? There are three primary budget ranges to consider. $1000 and under. $1000-$4000 and $4000 and up. Most consumers are looking for something that costs less than $1000. Fortunately, there are many cameras that fall into that category.

Next on the list is format. Do you want to record to tape, DVD or hard drive. For consumer-level cameras, I usually recommend against DVD formatted cameras. Tape is the easiest to deal with, but does require that you budget for an ongoing expense.

Another consideration is what features do you need? Some that I suggest you look for include an optical rather than a digital zoom, a miminum of 720p HD quality, HDMI outputs, replacable-rechargable batteries, an easy way to mount the camera to a tripod, manual control over things like aperture and exposure and lastly, the ability to add an external microphone and to monitor the audio as it comes into the camera. The audio features are perhaps the most important to me personally, since I know that without good audio, it doesn’t matter what the video looks like.

Lastly, make sure your camcorder will work with the editing software you prefer. For instance, if you prefer iMovie 08, Apple has provided a complete list of compatible cameras here.

Written by scottbourne

December 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Articles, Gear

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